When people ask me why I’ve been doing Pilates at PIH for over 15 years, I often get tongue-tied. I mean, I know there’s a why, in fact, there are many. But they seem so basic and fundamental to me, I really have to think about how to articulate them. I recently overheard one friend telling another that she should come to Pilates in Holland because it’s so good for your body (and brain!). Friend two demurred saying, “it’s so expensive!” I didn’t jump in (and I won’t deny that coming to PIH is a significant cost commitment), but it got me to think about why I choose to make that commitment so I have an answer ready next time.
PERSONALIZED AND SAFE
When I was on vacation this summer I wanted to get a little Pilates in. A Pilates franchise happened to be close by and was convenient to book online. Plus, I could be anonymous and check out the competition, so to speak. 😉 And I won’t lie, the equipment was impressive. Besides a reformer, we each had our own springboard and some other cool toys. But that was it.
The instructor was nice but didn’t introduce herself to me, ask my name, or if I had any limitations. It was a level 1 jumpboard class and we started with footwork and a good, solid jumping routine, but the rest was meh. It was either too easy or too hard, and not in a good way. It was too hard in an injure-my-back kind of way with the instruction “if your back is hurting, all I can tell you is to pull your abs in tighter.” The movement we were doing would be appropriate for about 5% of the population, so the instructor should have known better than to try it with a group of beginners that included people she didn’t know well.
Our PIH instructors KNOW US WELL. Signing up for sessions means they know who will be in every class and plan classes for those specific people. For real. If you ever think, “I wonder if she’s doing this because she knows I hate it (but need it)?” she probably is. And just try to get away with doing a move incorrectly or dangerously! Plus, we all fill out profiles before membership that our teachers actually look at to make sure everything is appropriate for our bodies. (By the way, if you haven’t updated your health profile in a while, here’s a video tutorial on how to do that. Do it!)
I have a confession to make (glances to make sure Mandy isn’t listening): I don’t really enjoy exercising. I know, I know. I know it’s important, I know I feel better afterward, and I know I write about it all the time. I know, I know, I know. But I never want to do it. And many days, the only reason I show up at the studio is because I paid for this, dammit. And I’m not going to waste my money. I know I’m not alone in this. (Please tell me I’m not alone in this!) Signing up and paying for this is a commitment to myself and my health that I know I will keep.
Plus, every time I’m in the studio, the instructors push me past what I would do on my own. I know I get a more thorough workout that includes all the major muscle groups… and a few I’ve never heard of. I don’t have to plan what I need to do, I don’t need to search for the perfect online workout. It’s going to happen with a minimum of effort on my part. And, it’s different every time so I don’t get bored like I do with online workouts.
You may have noticed an uptick in the use of weights at the studio. That’s because they’re so important for healthy bones and for maintaining strength as we age. A while ago, a friend told a group of us about a YouTube series that uses weights. Another friend in that group started and stopped doing it and then asked if I could be her accountability partner if she started again. Why? Because she hates exercising alone, even though she has a beautiful space at home, the right equipment, and all the know-how.
For this friend, and for many of us, the PIH studio is a place to find connection. We work hard, but we also check in with each other to see how kids or parents are doing, hear about the latest goings-on, and commiserate about life in general. I love seeing all the conversations that continue in the parking lot long after class is over. The other day after class, I had to shout 3 times to get the attention of the group chatting at the entrance, they were so loud. I was laughing as I finally asked them my question. A strong community is a key component of what Mandy set out to create at Pilates in Holland. Mission accomplished. 🙂
I learned about the importance of weights for bone health from Jayne. Every PIH teacher has taught me something important to improve the way I move or exercise, or about health and well-being in general, many of which end up in these blogs. Jayne, Mandy, Debra, Teresa, & Terree are all recognized as Comprehensive Teachers through Balanced Body University and master trainer, Ahmé Bovée and are Nationally Certified, but they also keep learning… constantly. It’s been one of the greatest gifts of my life to learn from them. I think we’ve all learned more about our own bodies, and about living well from all of them.
So there you have it. These are my whys. I’m sure many people resonate with one or two of these reasons, just as I’m sure many of you have additional whys that I didn’t list. So what are they? What makes you choose to be a part of the PIlates in Holland community?